The Lower Manhattan Arts Academy (LoMA) is a small, supportive, multicultural school where the focus is on academic excellence through the arts. Every aspect of LoMA’s design, structure and practice supports its students’ intellectual, emotional and cultural development with the ultimate goal of seeing that he or she gets into and succeeds in a four-year college. As an arts school, the visual and performing arts are integral to every student’s day in three ways. First, students will have opportunities to work with visual and performing artists during academic classes to create high quality, standards-based performances of learning. Secondly, each student also has the opportunity to specialize in a particular art - visual, choral, instrumental, dance or drama. Finally, LoMA has partnerships with many Lower East Side arts organizations so that every student takes part in an extended day program at least twice a week. This integration of the arts into every student’s day will help to build our students’ cultural, social and academic capital so that they will become successful, thoughtful, contributing members of their communities.
As a neighborhood school of the diverse Lower East Side, one of LoMA’s greatest strengths is its connections to community-based organizations. LoMA has developed partnerships with the following organizations and universities: New York Theatre Workshop, Gotham Opera Company, St. Luke’s Orchestra, Educational Alliance, The Lower East Side Girls Club, Leave Out Violence (LOVE) and New York University. Our strongest community partnership, with Henry Street Settlement, has earned us prestigious grants from Metropolitan Life Insurance and the Guild for Arts Education. LoMA’s exemplar programs have also earned grants from the New York State Council of the Arts, and the City of New York.
Keeping the size of our school community to less than 300 students makes it possible for LoMA to maintain an atmosphere so supportive that many of our students refer to school as a family. Yet small size is not enough to guarantee that each student will buy-in to the culture of a school that expects success from all of its members. Student government, school-wide performances, monthly school trips and planned social events are essential components for creating a sense of mutual interdependence. In addition, in order to ensure that no student “falls between the cracks,” we also offer such programs as advisory, team teaching, daily tutoring and small classes. Most freshman academic classes have two adults in them so that we can better meet the needs of each student at his or her ability level. These programs offer our students and staff a myriad of opportunities to interact on a variety of professional, personal and social levels.
We have a variety of specific programs to support our high-need students. To provide social emotional support for our students we have two counselors, one of the lowest counselor-to-student ratios in the city. To meet the needs of our special education students, over half of our classes are team taught following the collaborative team teaching model. Through our partnership with New York University, we have thirty tutors and five student teachers to provide one-on-one tutoring. Regular teachers also provide tutoring after school Tuesday through Friday. All students also receive academic guidance support through daily, 20-minute advisory classes and a twenty minute reading period with a class size of fewer than thirteen students. Thrice weekly case management meetings attended by guidance and teaching staff proactively assess student progress so that emerging at-risk students can be targeted for further academic intervention services and high achieving students can get the attention that they deserve.
A LoMA a student’s day does not end at 3:00 as our extended day program supports instruction and offers students a wide variety of high interest, community-building activities. These include theater, dance and art clubs, the LoMA Theatre Ensemble, NY Cares volunteer group, mentoring from the employees of Oppenheimer Funds, leadership programs and gender specific support groups. Varsity PSAL tennis, volleyball, basketball, handball, soccer and bowling teams are also available. Every senior student takes part in extensive internships with organizations such as the Abrons Arts Center, The Public Theater and Harlem Hospital.
We know that with LoMA’s small student population, rigorous standards, nurturing environment, arts-infused lessons and focused student-centered teaching methodologies we can be successful with each student, as we fulfill our mission to foster the intellectual and character development of our students in a learning community that emphasizes cultural awareness, critical thinking and the joy of learning.